Non Consumable Anodes
This type of anode supports other anodic reactions on their surfaces. In environments where water and chloride ions are present, chlorine evolution and oxidation of water are possible.
- Platinized substrates: Platinum is the ideal permanent impressed current anode material. It is one of the most noble metals and in practically all environments forms a thin invisible film which is electrically very conductive. In addition, the exchange current densities of most anodic reactions on the Pt surface are greater than on other anode materials. Due to its high cost, platinum is applied as a thin coating (1-5 µm) on metallic substrates such as titanium, niobium and tantalum.
Platinized titanium is often used in marine environments. To avoid the dissolution of titanium at unplatinized locations on the surface, the operating voltage of the anode is limited by the anodic breakdown potential of titanium which is in the range of 9 to 9.5 V in the presence of chlorides. Hence the maximum recommended operating voltage of platinized titanium anodes is 8 V. The corresponding maximum current density output is approximately 1 kA m-2. For cathodic protection systems where operating voltages are relatively high, niobium and tantalum based anodes are generally selected. This is because these two substrates have anodic breakdown potentials greater than 100 V in chloride containing electrolytes. The wastage rate of platinized anodes is approximately 8 mg A-1 y-1.
The rate of platinum consumption has been found to accelerate in the presence of AC current ripple. Most wastage was observed to occur with AC frequencies of less than 50 Hz. The repeated oxidation/reduction processes result in the formation of a brownish layer of platinum oxide. To avoid the occurrence of this phenomenon, a single or a three phase full-wave rectification is recommended. The consumption rate of platinized anodes is also adversely affected by the presence of organic impurities such as sugar and diesel fuel.
- Magnetite: Magnetite is a cheap and naturally occurring material. It is a non-stoichiometric oxide and has an electrical conductivity of 1.25 Ω-1 m-1. Due to its brittleness, the anode is cast as a hollow cylinder and closed at one end. The inner surface is then copper plated and the cylinder is filled with polystyrene. Epoxy resin is used to fill any remaining space. The anode cable is soldered to the copper plate. Magnetite anodes have been successfully used in the cathodic protection of buried structures and those immersed in seawater. The maximum operating current density is 0.115 kA m-2 and the anode consumption rate is approximately from 1 to 4 g A-1y-1.
- Mixed Metal Oxide Anodes: This is a recently developed anode. It is claimed that it has superior mechanical, consumption and electrochemical properties compared with conventional anodes. The anode is composed of an inert metal oxide, ruthenium oxide coated titanium. The operating current density is 0.8 kA m-2 and the consumption rate is in the range of 0.8 mg A-1 y-1.